NEWHALL UNITED 2
ROWSLEY 86 4
HISTORY repeated itself at the Hawfields on Saturday as for the second season in succession Newhall United twice let the lead slip through their grasp at home to Rowsley 86.
The award of three penalties to Rowsley hardly helped matters on this occasion, but the Blues did themselves no favours with another late collapse.
Ex-Stapenhill striker Steven Wayte made the best possible start to his Newhall debut, firing the Blues in front with a wonder-strike on six minutes.
He took a touch to control the ball 25 yards out before rifling a shot into the top corner.
Danny Wright almost doubled the lead when he exchanged a neat one-two with Ashley Riddell, but was denied by a solid near post stop from Ben Powell.
However, Rowsley levelled on 16 minutes when Pat Speedy went to ground in the box under Joe Tomlin's challenge, leading to penalty number one.
Simon Baldwin got a hand to Nik Baker's spot kick, but the Rowsley skipper reacted quickest to knock home the loose ball.
This swung the momentum in Rowsley's favour, and Aaron O'Neil had two notable efforts on goal.
He sent a first-time strike wide after pushing up from left-back, and blazed another effort high over Baldwin's bar.
Another quick move caught Baldwin out of position, but Matt Hamilton failed to connect with the final shot, while another attack was ended when Matt Draycott made a vital challenge on Ant Porter.
Porter had a golden opportunity to put Rowsley ahead before the break but blasted well over from the edge of the box after breaking clear.
Mick Kirkland (pictured), returning to the Blues after a short spell with Matlock Town, was introduced at the start of the second half, and his physical presence offered a new dimension to the Newhall attack.
When Yoann Fournier picked out the target man at the far post, it took a timely interception from Speedy to prevent a goal, but it was Kirkland who struck on the hour mark to restore Newhall's lead.
The Blues came close to making it 3-1 two minutes later when Ian Mansfield fired off a shot which beat Powell but clipped the far post.
When the referee spotted a push by Tomlin during a melee in the Newhall box the hosts had another chance to level from the spot.
Baldwin again kept out Nik Baker's initial spot kick, but this time Kirkland reacted fast to slide in and clear the loose ball.
Another excellent stop from Baldwin denied O'Neil, but despite Rowsley continuing to press Newhall looked like they would hold on.
However, when a long ball to the right caught out Adam Stockdale on 84 minutes, Speedy pounced to slot past Baldwin.
Rowsley went ahead for the first time three minutes later when Kirkland was adjudged to have handled the ball when Speedy whipped in a cross, and Tim Baker converted the penalty.
The same player grabbed another when he was given space to execute a superb lob from the corner of the box on 90 minutes.
It could have been five after Matt Hamilton rounded Tomlin and unleashed a powerful shot, but Baldwin beat it away at the near post.
GOALS: Wayte 6, Kirkland 60 (Blues); N Baker 16, Speedy 84, T Baker 87 pen, 90 (Rowsley).
BLUES: Baldwin, Tomlin, Stockdale, Draycott, Mansfield (Ryan 89), Foster, Riddell, Wright, Wayte, Pasternak (Kirkland 46), Fournier (Abbott 64).
ROWSLEY: Powell, Speedy, O'Neil, S Walker, N Baker, Webster, Roome, Z Walker, T Baker, Hamilton, Porter (Hoskin 76).
BLUES STAR MAN: Simon Baldwin – made a number of important saves.
REFEREE: J Smith (Kirk Langley).